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For richer or poorer: finances on divorce

December 3, 2021

Family solicitor Megan Ryan-Loughran, discusses finances on divorce in this article.

As a child, I used to have a relative that, when it came to sharing anything, they would say “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is my own!”, and bizarrely enough, elements of that can actually translate into family law.

When parties get divorced, it may be the case that there are finances to resolve, and no two circumstances are ever the same. It may have been an agreement between the couple that one person would continue to work and the other person would stay home with children and therefore didn’t contribute to bills but did do work around the house and saved on childcare fees. It may be that both parties contributed to the purchase of a property but in unequal shares, or one party used inheritance to put down the entire deposit. It may be that one person came to the marriage with significantly more assets than the other party.  It is such a niche and often complex area.

Some couples may end of amicable terms and there may not be any finances to resolve (for example a young couple who both work stable jobs and who were living in a rented house with only a shared account for the bills). In these scenarios, is it really worth going to court to fight over who gets the family pet, or who gets to keep the Rod Stewart CD?

In these situations, consider whether it is possible to come to an agreement between you both about the division of the assets, if there are any. Perhaps you shared a car, and now that you both need one, consider whether you could sell that car, split the proceeds, and each get a car on finance? Only you know your circumstances.

If you think that you want to be able to come to an agreement, but there is tension between you both and you can’t reach an agreement by yourself, consider the information on Resolution’s website about mediation and other forms of dispute resolution. This can help you both to come to an arrangement that both sides agree on, so that the divorce process can continue without hiccup (the divorce process itself is not affected by any financial issues, but finances ought to be sorted before the Decree Absolute is pronounced for the most efficient way).

For others, financial matters are significantly more complicated. There may be overseas assets, there may be business interests, one party may earn significantly more than the other.

In this scenario, mediation may also be beneficial. If parties can reach an agreement early on as to how the marital pot should be divided, it can save everyone a lot of time and money.

Look at Arnold Swarzeneggers divorce, whose divorce has been going on for 10 years and only now seems to be coming towards a resolution. Financial proceedings can take years if there are issues that can’t be agreed without the court’s intervention, and so we would always recommend that you try to reach an agreement with mediation or alternative solution before beginning financial proceedings.

Once you have attended meditation, it is still worth speaking to solicitors before commencing financial proceedings as it is so important that you get the right advice early on in the process. We can advise you on the benefits and risks of a financial agreement, and we can help you with the way forward.

Further information from Resolution can be found on their website: https://resolution.org.uk/ 

If you wish to speak to someone from AFG LAW about finances on divorce, contact us today on 01204 377600 or email familydepartment@afglaw.co.uk